Model motions protesting against Chris Williamson’s re-suspension

Like and share this post:

Labour Against the Witchhunt

We believe that the renewed suspension of Chris Williamson MP is a travesty of justice.

We are particularly concerned that Keith Vaz’ U-turn seems to have been motivated purely by the pressure coming from the right inside and outside the party. Sadly but unsurprisingly, that now includes Jon Lansman.

We presume Vaz initially judged the case by its merit and found – correctly – that Chris had not said or done anything that could be described as anti-Semitic or bringing the party into disrepute. Vaz quite rightly judged that the evidence did not warrant Chris’s ongoing suspension or his referral to the National Constitutional Committee (which is still dominated by the right).

But Vaz’s U-turn and Chris’s renewed suspension, following the deeply undemocratic and hysterical letter organised by Tom Watson, symbolise how unfair and one-sided the whole disciplinary process really is. The right is calling all the shots  – and Labour HQ seems to always do exactly what they demand.

But the right will never be appeased. They will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains an unreliable ally from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

There is very little chance that Chris will get a fair hearing from the NEC Disputes Panel, when several of those who will sit in judgment upon him have already torn his reputation to shreds on social media, without even having seen all the evidence.

We therefore call on the NEC:

  •  to immediately reinstate Chris Williamson, as recommended by the NEC panel
  • to immediately open trigger ballots so that Labour Party members can choose a parliamentary candidate who actually reflects their wishes
  • to stop the practice of automatic suspensions and expulsions: members should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty

Labour Party Northern Ireland

1. We are opposed to the original suspension of Chris Williamson MP. Given that the opinion expressed was a reasonable one, we consider that there was insufficient evidence from the outset that his comments constituted conduct that justified withdrawal of the whip.

2. We are opposed to the second suspension of Chris Williamson on the grounds that it was arbitrary and unreasonable, being as it failed to adhere to Labour Party rules and procedures governing disciplinary matters.

3. We are opposed to the disciplining of any member who publicly states that the Labour Party does not have a particular problem with anti-semitism.

4. We call on the Labour Party leadership and on all members to robustly challenge the false narrative that the Labour Party is a racist and bigoted party.


Jewish Voice for Labour

This branch/CLP notes with alarm the unprecedented over-ruling of an NEC disciplinary panel decision to lift the suspension of Derby North MP Chris Williamson, as a result of a hostile public campaign led by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Disciplinary panels have delegated powers and make their decisions in the light of material presented to them by party staff and independent advice from qualified legal counsel. To our knowledge there is no previous case of a panel decision being referred back to the NEC. For this to happen as a result of partisan political lobbying is unacceptable interference in the processes the party has been struggling to make faster, more robust and more effective. It amounts to a violation of the natural justice that members have a right to expect in the party’s disciplinary procedures.

We call upon the NEC, meeting on July 9, to reject such interference and to uphold the decision of the June 27 panel lifting Chris Williamson’s suspension.

 


We note that:

  • Chris Williamson is a  well-respected and hardworking MP with great standing in his constituency and a strong record of anti-racist campaigning.
  • Our campaign for a Labour Government depends on the dedication and principled commitment of Chris Williamson and others like him.
  • Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, said ”The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. …[O]ur party has been partly responsible for that because… we have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
  • Following his initial suspension (27/02/19) Chris Williamson was tried according to procedure by the 3 member panel of the NCC and the suspension was lifted (26/06/19).
  • Following the lifting of his suspension, a hostile and personal campaign against him by the Media and sections of the PLP has resulted in unprecedented action to refer his case on to the NEC (28/06/19).

We believe that Chris Williamson’s comments are not anti-Semitic.

We strongly disagree with the actions of the members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who published a letter calling upon Jeremy Corbyn to overturn this decision on the basis that there has been, “political interference.”

Resolution:

This branch/ CLP reaffirms our support for Chris Williamson and we call on the NEC to reinstate Chris Williamson immediately.

How to use the new trigger ballot to deselect your MP

Like and share this post:

Labour Party conference 2018 voted to introduce two separate trigger ballots: one for all the Labour branches of a CLP, another one for all local affiliates (trade unions, socialist societies, cooperative organisations).

Here is how it works (please note that CLPs are still awaiting written guidelines – though MPs seem to have been sent a FAQ, see below):

1) On Monday June 25, general secretary Jennie Formby wrote to all sitting MPs, asking if they want to stand again in any new general election. They will have to let her know by July 8.

2) If the MP replies ‘yes’, the CLP will organise two trigger ballots:

  • Local party members will meet in their branches and are asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP as the only candidate. A simple majority decides if the branches is counted as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote.
  • Local affiliates (unions and other organisations) will probably not hold democratic elections, but also have one vote each.

3) If a minimum of 33 % of a CLP’s branches or 33 % of the CLP’s affiliates vote ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP, a full selection process starts – ie, a democratic contest between different candidates, including the sitting MP. Please note that, according to a FAQ apparently sent to MPs by Jennie Formby at the beginning of July (see below), “the third of branches is calculated based only on the branches that do cast a vote” – which is excellent, if indeed this is how it will be implemented.

4) Only full Labour Party members have a vote in this stage of the process.

For example: A CLP has 10 branches and 10 affiliates. To start a full selection process, EITHER 4 LP branches OR 4 affiliated organisations have to vote ‘no’ when asked if they want to retain the sitting MP.

Click here for some background on trigger ballots and why they are so crucial to remaking the Labour Party. Also, remember that trigger ballots were only ever reformed to stop the much more democratic system of mandatory reselection going through at last year’s conference.

This FAQ was apparently sent to all MPs at the beginning of July (click on the picture to read it better)

 

 

Model motion: Reinstate Pete Willsman!

Like and share this post:

This branch/CLP notes:

  • On May 31, Labour Party NEC member Peter Willsman was put under “administrative suspension” after he was secretly recorded by the Israeli-American author Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • The audio was recorded in January 2019, but leaked to the press over five months later, no doubt to coincide with a new hotting up in the campaign o get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

We further note:

  • Tenenbom claims that he ‘happened’ to come across Pete Willsman in a hotel bar and that his sound engineer ‘happened’ to have left a hidden microphone switched on.
  • However, Tenenbom has published a number of books in which he uses exactly this kind of method: He secretly films and records people, often guiding them into making the kind of unguarded comments he was looking for, in order to prove how anti-Semitism is rife in Germany, Palestine, the USA etc.
  • Tenenbom has given lectures in which he explains why “the suffering of Palestinian people is bullshit” (https://bit.ly/2MAH1xo) and told LBC Radio: “He [Pete Willsman] is a nice guy, he has a great sense of humour, he’s knowledgeable. But Like Jeremy Corbyn – I met Jeremy and he’s also a nice guy, very fatherly – but they suffer from a disease of really hating the Jews.” (https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/labour-israeli-embassy-behind-antisemitism-smears/)

We believe:

  • That anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, must be vigorously combatted – ideally, through education and debate, not disciplinary measures and ‘zero tolerance’.
  • That the Labour Party is not institutionally anti-Semitic, as the figures published by Jennie Formby prove. On the contrary, many claims of anti-Semitism have been taken out of context, exaggerated and weaponised in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, an outspoken supporter of the rights of Palestinians. Anti-Zionism has been willfully and wrongly equated with anti-Semitism.
  • That nothing Pete Willsman said was anti-Semitic. Pete did, however, point to some uncomfortable truths exposed by the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which has been ignored by the mainstream media. The documentary revealed a systematic effort by the Israeli embassy to involve itself in the internal battles in the Labour Party. Also revealed were the efforts by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to label opponents of Israel as anti-Semites.
  • That this proven interference should be the subject of an overdue investigation, as demanded by Jeremy Corbyn in a letter of January 2017.

We further believe:

  • A stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP), Pete Willsman has been serving on Labour’s NEC for many decades and is one of the few real allies of Jeremy Corbyn on that body. This is why he has been on the radar of those who will do anything to get rid of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
  • That anti-Corbyn MPs such as Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face disciplinary action and should be held accountable for their actions.

We therefore express our full solidarity with Pete Willsman, Chris Williamson MP and all the other Labour Party members who have been suspended, expelled or disciplined on bogus charges of anti-Semitism or because of their support for left-wing groups. We want to see them immediately reinstated.

Important information:

There is no ban in the Labour Party on moving motions in support of comrades in ongoing disciplinary cases. Like in the case Chris Williamson MP, the ‘advice’ sent out by Labour Party HQ merely declares such motions to be “not competent business” for the NEC to discuss. That merely means the NEC will not look at them – but the rest of the workers’ movement  certainly will. Any motion, any statement, any act of public solidarity will add pressure to get our comrades reinstated, gives courage to other Labour Party members and branches and assures the victims of the witch-hunt that they do not stand alone.

More info on this issue and detailed guidelines on how to move a motion are here: http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/campaigns/there-is-no-ban-on-moving-motions-in-support-of-chris-williamson-mp/

 

 

Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

Like and share this post:

So far, at least 28 CLPs, 9 Momentum branches and dozens of trade union bodies and left Labour organisations have come out in solidarity with Chris Williamson MP (we know of couple of other CLPs where it was decided not to publish the successful resolution). Each CLP has an average of 800 members, so you can calculate for yourself how that compares with the very few MPs who have demanded Chris’ scalp.

PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent recent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion. Click here for a number of model motions.

Feel free to download, share and use our memes.

Table of Contents

Continue Reading “Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP”

Model motion: Implement the reformed trigger ballot

Like and share this post:

Model motion: Implement the reformed trigger ballot

This branch/CLP notes:

  • Labour Party conference 2018 voted to reform the trigger ballot, which is currently the only way in which Labour Party members can exercise some democratic control over their parliamentary representative.
  • This was moved by the NEC as part of the ‘democracy review’ and thereby superseded the much more democratic rule change for ‘open selection’ of all parliamentary candidates (which was supported by over 95% of CLP delegates at the 2018 conference).

We also note that:

  • In January 2019, Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby was commissioned by the NEC to “urgently” draw up guidelines and a timetable for the implementation of the reformed trigger ballot. Without such guidelines, CLPs cannot launch proceedings.
  • In February 2019, eight Labour Party MPs split from the party to form The Independent Group, which is currently known as Change UK.
  • The Guardian reported on February 25 that in an “attempt to stop further defections, Labour could delay the start of re-election battles” and that “Labour is set to put back the start of the formal MP selection process, due to begin in a few weeks, which could have led to vast numbers of MPs facing deselection.”
  • This is indeed what seems to have happened: At the March and May meetings of the NEC, proposals to implement the trigger ballots have not been presented and this important democratic issue seems to have been kicked into the long grass.

We further note:

  • At the snap election in 2017, CLPs were told that the sitting MP would simply remain in place, without any democratic input by the local members.
  • The ongoing Brexit crisis makes another snap election or, worse, the formation of a national government, a real possibility. Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely to be invited to join – let alone lead – such a national government, as the vast majority of MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party have proven how hostile they are to him and his politics.
  • Unless the makeup of the PLP dramatically changes to more accurately reflect the will and composition of the membership, Jeremy Corbyn could well be held prisoner by a majority of MPs who are deeply hostile to the Corbyn project.

We therefore urge the NEC to:

  • Urgently launch guidelines and a timetable to implement the trigger ballot and help branches and CLPs to get ready in case a snap election is called. Labour Party members must be allowed to exercise the right to hold their representatives to account.
  • Rule out the possibility that Labour Party MPs will participate in any kind of ‘national government’.

Background: How the reformed trigger ballots works

Labour Party conference 2018 voted to introduce two separate trigger ballots: one for all the Labour branches of a CLP, another one for all local affiliates (trade unions, socialist societies, cooperative organisations).

Once the NEC has published its timetable (and only then) are CLP members and affiliates asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP as the only candidate. If 33 % of a CLP’s branches or 33 % of the CLP’s affiliates vote ‘no’, then a full selection process starts – ie, a democratic contest between different candidates, including the sitting MP. Only full Labour Party members have a vote in this next stage of the process.

For example: A CLP has 10 branches and 10 affiliates. To start a full selection process, EITHER 4 LP branches OR 4 affiliated organisations have to vote ‘no’ when asked if they want to retain the sitting MP.

Proposed rule change motion for Labour Party conference: Open Selection

Like and share this post:

Proposed rule change motion: Open Selection

This branch/CLP believes:

  • that being a Labour MP should not be a job for life;
  • that candidates should be selected openly without restrictions before each general election;
  • that all individual and affiliate members should be able to participate in the selection of candidates;
  • that the existing system of trigger ballots prevents this from happening and creates unnecessary antagonisms, turning what should be a normal open process into an implied vote of no confidence in a sitting Labour MP;
  • that a fully democratised Labour Party based on the principle of One Member One Vote is the best way to ensure the election of a Labour government with the strength and resolve to create a fair and just society for the many, not the few.

Therefore this branch/CLP:

  • calls upon the NEC to endorse and support the LI Rule Change motion from 2018 and to reintroduce it as an NEC rule change at the next Labour Conference;
  • moves the following rule change to Labour Party conference 2019:

Replace Clause IV.5 and IV.6 with the following:

“5. Following an election for a Parliamentary constituency the procedure for selection of Westminster Parliamentary Candidates shall be as follows:

  1. If the CLP is not represented in Parliament by a member of the PLP, a timetable for selecting the next Westminster Parliamentary Candidate shall commence no sooner than six weeks after the election and complete no later than 12 months after the election.
  2. If a CLP is represented in Parliament by a member of the PLP, then a timetable for selecting the next Westminster Parliamentary Candidate shall commence no sooner than 36 months and complete no later than 48 months after the election. The sitting Member of Parliament shall be automatically included on the shortlist of candidates unless they request to retire or resign from the PLP.
  3. The CLP Shortlisting Committee shall draw up a shortlist of interested candidates to present to all members of the CLP who are eligible to vote in accordance with Clause I.1.A above.”

    Consequential amendments to be made elsewhere in the Rule Book where the ‘trigger ballot’ is
    mentioned.

 

Model motion: Tom Watson should stand down

Like and share this post:

This model motion is currently doing the rounds in branches and CLPs.

This branch/CLP notes:

  1. Under Party Rules, Clause VII, section ix. “the Deputy Leader shall provide the Leader with advice and support in achieving the goals of the Party and deputise as requested.”
  2. That in her email of 1st March to Tom Watson, Jenny Formby, the General Secretary of the Party states “You have decided without consultation or regard to due process, to ask colleagues who raise complaints with me to forward them to your private email address as you will be ‘logging and monitoring’ all complaints. It is completely inappropriate for you to set up a vague parallel complaints monitoring system … The suggestion that you as an individual data controller should receive and store data related to complaints unrelated to your personal role as an MP … is completely unacceptable and exposes you, and the Party, to significant compliance risks. Furthermore you will undermine the work that my staff and I are doing and will confuse and pollute the existing formal process, compromising it and slowing it down.”
  3. In a series of media interviews Tom Watson has declared his intention to set up an organisation of MPs to challenge the policies of the Leader and the Shadow Cabinet.

This branch/CLP CLP believes that Tom Watson’s actions seek to undermine the Party Leader, twice overwhelmingly elected by party members, and are not compatible with his remit as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

This branch/CLP calls for Tom Watson to either stand down as Deputy Leader or submit himself for re-election as Deputy Leader.

Model Motions: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

Like and share this post:

THERE IS NO BAN! We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris, because of apparent recent advice by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed guidelines on this issue here.


Model motion 1

Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party

This Meeting:
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27, published in full below).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.

APPENDIX/NOTE: Chris Williamson’s personal message.

The Labour Party is an anti-racist party. It is the only party that has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with religious and ethnic minorities in their decades-long fight against racism, discrimination and prejudice in the United Kingdom.

On a personal level, I have been an anti-racist all my life. As a former member of the Anti-Nazi League. I participated in direct action to confront foul anti-Semites in the streets. I reject racism ethically and morally. It has no place in the Labour Party or in our country.

It pains me greatly, therefore, that anyone should believe that it is my intention to minimise the cancerous and pernicious nature of anti-Semitism.

I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words when speaking about how the Labour Party has responded to the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism inside of our party. I was trying to stress how much the party has done to tackle anti-Semitism.

Our movement can never be “too apologetic” about racism within our ranks. Whilst it is true that there have been very few cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – something I believe is often forgotten when discussing this issue – it is also true that those few are too many.

It is precisely because of our party’s historic struggle against racism that we have taken it upon ourselves to strengthen our rules, to improve our disciplinary procedures and to redouble our efforts to take on anti-Semites. We have held ourselves to a higher standard than any other political party when it comes to anti-racism – and rightly so.

I am therefore sorry for how I chose to express myself on this issue within our party. This is a fight that I want to be an ally in.

In future, I will take it upon myself to be more considered in my remarks. and ensure they reflect the Labour Party’s unswerving and unfaltering commitment to anti-racism and the fight against anti-Semitism.


Model motion 2

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

  • The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
  • His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
  • Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.
  • Despite the departure of Iain McNicol as general secretary, the witch-hunt of left-leaning party members continues. The main target of this campaign is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself. But thousands of Labour Party members have been investigated, suspended and expelled, often on spurious grounds. Like Chris Williamson, they are the collateral damage in this campaign to ‘get’ Corbyn.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk) 
  • Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)
  • Invite Chris Williamson to a local rally/meeting in support of his reinstatement
  • Support the key aims of Labour Against the Witchhunt: 1) An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions. 2) Rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people. 3) Abolition of Labour’s ‘compliance unit.’ (http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/contact/)
  • Affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) at the soonest possible opportunity and include a statement of support for LAW on this CLP’s social media channels and website. (Cost £25 pa)
  • Campaign to reverse the NEC’s decision to adopt the disputed ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
  • Work to arrange a local screening of the “The Witchhunt” documentary https://witchhuntfilm.org)

Model motion 3

This branch/CLP notes with concern the use of the term (as attributed in the media to a Labour spokesman) “downplaying” anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

We believe that of course the Labour Party should combat all forms of racism.

However, accusations of “downplaying” anti-Semitism (or worse placing it on a par with anti-Semitism itself) have the potential to inhibit the freedom of all Labour Party members to discuss the issues relating to racism in the Party. They should for example be able to:

  • Challenge the assertion that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. This has been repeated so many times that it has become established fact, despite the conclusions of the Chakrabati report and an all-party Home Affairs Select Committee that anti-Semitism and other types of racism are not endemic within Labour
  • Question whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair or even in some cases politically motivated
  • Judge based on the data the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party and whether the Party’s procedures and actions are effective and proportionate
  • Discuss whether the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate
  • Speak out on cases of injustice within the Labour Party
  • Resist any curbs on legitimate freedom of speech and any move towards a culture of denunciation

This branch/CLP  therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby (Labour Party General Secretary) and Shami Chakrabarti (Shadow Attorney General) with a copy of this motion
  • Submit this motion to local Constituency Labour Parties as necessary

Model Motion: Oppose the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism

Like and share this post:

Model Motion: Objection to the Labour Party’s [Union’s] adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

This [CLP/Union branch] notes that:

  • Prior to July 2018, the Party Rulebook did not specify any particular definition of anti-Semitism.
  • On 4 September 2018, the NEC adopted all 11 examples associated with the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Some of these examples link criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.
  • At the September NEC meeting Jeremy Corbyn sought to add the following rider to the IHRA definition, which he withdrew when told that there would be no majority for it on the NEC:

“It should not be regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

  • Trade unionists, public sector workers and Labour Party members are now being disciplined for criticising Israel and breaching the IHRA definition.
  • Activists and legal experts have raised concerns over the IHRA definition. Even the lead drafter of the EUMC definition (which the IHRA definition is based on), Kenneth Stern, has acknowledged that it has been used in ways for which it was never intended, as a means of chilling free speech.

This [CLP/Union branch] believes the IHRA definition to be, as 24 Palestinian trade unions and civic groups pointed out in August 2018, a “politicised and fraudulent definition of anti-Semitism”. We therefore call upon the [National Executive Committee of the Labour Party/Executive Committee of the Union] to rescind their adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and replace it with the the Merriam Webster definition: “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group”.

In addition, we call for a re-evaluation of disciplinary actions against any affected member accused of anti-Semitism under the IHRA definition.

Model motions: Support the reinstatement of Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt as parliamentary candidate for Thanet South

Like and share this post:

LAW Statement

In what is a very unusual and highly politicised decision, a three-person panel of the Labour Party’s NEC has refused to endorse Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt as the parliamentary candidate for South Thanet. It has thereby undermined the democratic decision of local Labour Party members who had selected her over eight months earlier.

Just like many other Labour Party members, Rebecca is the victim of false accusations of anti-Semitism made against her. The following three Twitter messages by Rebecca constitute the whole ‘evidence’ against her:

  1. “Accusations levelled at Jackie Walker are politically motivated.”
  2. “Antisemitism has been weaponised by those who seek to silence anti-Zionist voices. See The Lynching, endorsed by Ken Loach, for elucidation.”
  3. “Accusations of AS levelled in an attempt to discredit the left.”

Ironically, the NEC panel’s disgraceful decision underlines the correctness of her statements. Clearly, none of these tweets are even vaguely anti-Semitic, but they prove that the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters is very much ongoing.

Jackie Walker, chair of LAW and a member of South Thanet CLP, says:

“Clearly, this shows that the witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters is still in full swing. Rebecca is a life-long socialist and principled campaigner for the rights of the Palestinians. Nothing she said or wrote is even vaguely anti-Semitic. It is almost unheard of that the NEC does not endorse a candidate who has been selected democratically and transparently by local party members. This is a slap in the face of the local membership and it is no surprise that the NEC’s decision has been rejected by the Executive Committee of South Thanet Constituency Labour Party, its branches and its women’s forum.”

What you can do:

  • Sign Rebecca’s petition here
  • Contribute to her legal fighting fund here

  • Take either of the model motions below to your branch/CLP demanding Rebecca’s reinstatement

Model motion 1:

This branch/CLP is appalled at the decision of a three-person NEC panel not to endorse South Thanet Labour Party’s democratically elected parliamentary candidate, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt. This decision is an affront to our democratic traditions and appears not to be accompanied by any supporting evidence nor any rationale detailing the decision-making process. This branch/CLP asks the NEC to review its decision in a way which fully respects the integrity of the NEC and the democratic wishes of the membership.

Model motion 2:

This branch/CLP notes:

  • That in December 2018, Labour Party’s NEC refused to endorse Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt as the parliamentary candidate for South Thanet, eight months after she was democratically selected by the local CLP.
  • That it is highly unusual for the NEC not to endorse a candidate selected locally.
  • That since her selection in April 2018, Rebecca has tirelessly campaigned for the local Labour Party, with the full support of the local members.

We further note:

  • That in April 2018, three tweets written by Rebecca for the Centre for Cultural Change twitter account were published out of context by Guido Fawke’s blog.
  • The three tweets read in full:
  1. “Accusations levelled at Jackie Walker are politically motivated.
  2. “Antisemitism has been weaponised by those who seek to silence anti-Zionist voices. See The Lynching, endorsed by Ken Loach, for elucidation.”
  3. “Accusations of AS levelled in an attempt to discredit the left.”
  • This led to an investigation by the Labour Party, which culminated in an interview with the NEC panel in December. Rebecca was told that:“In light of these posts your conduct does not meet the high standards that are expected of parliamentary candidates and has the potential to bring the Party into disrepute.”
  • This decision has been rejected by the Executive Committee of South Thanet Constituency Labour Party, its branches and its women’s forum.
  • Rebecca has no right to appeal this decision and is therefore considering taking legal action.

We believe:

  • That this decision is a serious blow to the democratic will of local Labour Party members
  • Rebecca’s tweets were not even vaguely anti-Semitic – but they do point to the very real and ongoing campaign by the right in the Labour Party to smear Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semitic.

We therefore call on the NEC:

  • To revisit this decision asap and to reinstate Rebecca as the Labour candidate for Thanet South.
  • To apologise to Rebecca and South Thanet CLP.

We further resolve to

  • Publicise this motion and send it to the CLP for discussion
  • Send this motion to the Labour Party NEC and general secretary Jennie Formby
  • Publicise the public petition demanding Rebecca’s reinstatement
  • Support Rebecca’s legal fighting fund with a donation of £___

Links

 

 

 

Model TU/Labour motion: Reject IHRA, end IHRA-related disciplinaries

Like and share this post:

Model TU/Labour motion: Reject IHRA, end IHRA-related disciplinaries

Motion: Objection to the [add your organisation’s name]’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and call for an end to disciplinary actions against any affected Member, Shop Steward, Labourist or Employee accused of anti-Semitism under this definition. 

This branch of [add your organisation’s name] that trade unionists, workers and Labour Party members are being disciplined around free speech on Israel.

We call upon the Executive Council of the [add your organisation’s name] to rescind the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and replace it with the OED definition that states anti-Semitism is simply “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”

In addition, we call for an end to disciplinary actions against any affected Member, Shop Steward, Labourist or Employee accused of anti-Semitism under the IHRA definition. Also for the dismissal of any charges that they have brought the union into disrepute by their campaigning against investigations on anti-Semitic charges.

Excellent motion on IHRA, passed by branches in Kilburn and Hampstead CLP

Like and share this post:

Conference notes that:

  • The IHRA is raised in the context of a campaign to demoralise and destroy the left, cut off solidarity with Palestine, provoke a Party split, and discredit Corbyn even comparing him to racist Tory Enoch Powell, slandering members as an “existential threat” to Jews;
  • The 4th September NEC refused Corbyn’s clause defending the right to criticise Israel.
  • Palestinian civil society and over 100 UK BAME groups condemned IHRA;
  • Israel was founded on the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians; its institutional racism was codified on 19 July 2018 by the Knesset’s Basic Law;
  • The Rule Book says, “The work of the Party shall be under the direction and control of Party conference”;

Conference believes that:

  • The implementation of IHRA will end free speech on Israel/Palestine, will not placate those hostile to Corbyn and the left, will not reduce antisemitism but undermine antiracism by prioritising one form of discrimination above all others, creating divisions among us;
  • Party members must be free to call Israel “a racist endeavour”;
  • This must be resolved by Conference.

Conference resolves to:

  • Call on the outgoing NEC to reverse its decision on IHRA and, in consultation with the Conference Arrangements Committee, to ensure time for delegates to resolve this matter on the Conference floor by vote;
  • Remove IHRA from the Code of Conduct regardless of NEC recommendations;
  • Promote free speech in the UK
  • Continue our solidarity with the Palestinian people by endorsing BDS and calling for a two-way arms embargo.

Draft contemporary motion on the IHRA definition on Antisemitism

Like and share this post:

This draft motion has been written with the Labour Party conference in mind, but of course you can use it in any other context.

  • Contemporary motions to Labour Party conference need to deal with issues that have arisen only recently and cannot be longer than 250 words.
  • They do not have to be submitted to a branch first, but please submit it asap to your CLP secretary. CLPs can either submit a contemporary motion or a rule change motion to conference.
  • CLPs need to submit their motion to the Conference Arrangements Committee by  September 13.

1. We note:

1.1. That recently there has been mounting pressure on the Labour Party to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working document on Antisemitism. This consists of a 38 word definition and eleven illustrative examples. The definition and seven of the examples have been adopted by the NEC.

1.2 Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, calls the document “bewilderingly imprecise”. Appeals court judge Stephen Sedley believes that the document would place “Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism”. Hugh Tomlinson QC warns that it has “a chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

1.3. That one of the four particularly disputed examples would ban the description of Israel as a “racist” state.

2. We believe:

2.1. That freedom of speech on the question of Palestine and Israel is of utmost importance.

2.2. Adopting the full IHRA document would conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism.

2.3. Adopting the full IHRA document could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Labour Party members, for example those who criticise as racist the adoption of the new Israeli ‘Nation-State’ law.

2.3. That the campaign to adopt the full IHRA document is driven by forces who are hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and want to get rid of him.

3. We resolve:

3.1. To reject the full IHRA document.

 

Reinstate Stan Keable! Model motion for union/Labour/other organisations

Like and share this post:

Please delete and amend as necessary

1. This branch/CLP/organisation notes with great concern: 

1.1. the dismissal of Stan Keable by Hammersmith and Fulham Labour council on April 21 2018. After 17 years service as a housing enforcer, he is supposed to have “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime. He said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square. This had nothing to do with work. Stan was participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour counter-demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the right-wing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration. The conversation was secretly filmed by the BBC’s David Grossman, who put a 105-second video clip online.

1.2. that the Council’s justification for dismissal is based on Stan attending the JVL counter-demonstration, by which he “knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about his views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the council’s code of conduct”.

1.3. that the right to express one’s views and to go on demonstrations are important democratic rights. Freedom of expression and freedom ofassemblyare guaranteed in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

2. We further note: 

2.1. that Unison has withdrawn its support (except at branch level) because Stan rejected the advice of its regional organiser to plead guilty, which would have meant abandoning the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

3. We believe:

3.1. that Stan’s dismissal is wholly unjust and must be reversed.

3.2. this dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. We fear that Stan’s dismissal could be the first of many political sackings.

4. We resolve to:

4.1. call on Hammersmith & Fulham council to reinstate Stan;

4.2. call on the Unison leadership to support Stan in his fight for reinstatement;

4.3. donate £50/£100/£250 [delete as necessary] to his campaign for reinstatement, and circulate/promote his GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable;

4.4. affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt [local or regional organisations £25, national organisations £100];

4.5.  sponsor the ‘Reinstate Stan Keable’ lobby of Hammersmith and Fulham Council meeting, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street W6 9JU, Monday July 16th, from 5pm to 7:15pm (Council meeting starts 7pm).

To be sent to: